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Witnesses to be called in S.Africa cops dragging death

Prosecutors in South Africa are expected to call witnesses Monday to argue against bail for nine policemen charged with murdering an immigrant taxi driver who was dragged behind their van.

In a second day of hearings the state hopes to link the nine with the death of Mozambique national Mido Macia, 27, who died in police custody on February 26 after being confronted for parking his taxi on the wrong side of the road.

Bystanders filmed Macia being manhandled, handcuffed to the back of the van and dragged hundreds of metres on the streets of Daveyton, east of Johannesburg.

Just over two hours later he was found dead in his cell, with extensive injuries, including cuts and bleeding on the brain.

In the hearing at the Benoni Magistrate’s court on Friday the nine cops said they were not guilty, and that Macia had assaulted a policeman while resisting arrest.

They said the dragging was an accident, but did not explain how he ended up cuffed to the van or dead in his cell.

Prosecutors may shed light on how the taxi driver was killed, since an autopsy report also suggests injuries from beating.

Footage of the incident went viral and sent shock waves across the world, shining a spotlight yet again on the conduct of South Africa’s much maligned police force.

Around 2,000 people attended Macia’s funeral in his hometown Matola in southern Mozambique on Saturday.